Review: Soweto Kinch Trio at The Forge

Derek Ansell listens in on a furious fusion of hard bop and rap from Kinch and his trio at The Forge at The Anvil, Basingstoke, 23 March

The Kinch trio mix up hard bop and rap as though the two go together like strawberries and cream. They don't of course, but Soweto and his hard-working rhythm men, bassist Nick Jurd and drummer Shane Forbes, occasionally manage to convince that they do.

Presenting the music for his new CD, The Legend Of Mike Smith, Kinch began with a solid blues on alto with bass and drums struggling but just about managing to catch up and stay with him, before he ended and went into a fast rap expressing concern for the horrors of modern life; the urban jungle, drug culture, police harassment and other nasties afflicting a number of young people today. His jazz excursions, on tenor sax these days as well as alto, are mainly themeless to begin but fasten onto a multitude of small, improvised melodies which he manages to coerce into an integrated whole.

Many of the selections were closely related with the raps segueing into the endings of the instrumental forays and fitting music to words wherever possible. Some of the extended tenor and drum excursions called to mind the headlong duos between Coltrane and Elvin Jones in the early 1960s, which in turn reminded us that little has changed in terms of style and delivery in mainstream modern jazz for more than 50 years.

Nick Jurd was a tireless rhythm partner who must have notched up more notes than the average symphony player uses in the space of just under two hours; often at breakneck tempo. Forbes was also supportive and alert to the requirements of a furiously paced alto or tenor soloist.

At the end, Kinch called upon the audience to supply words for every letter in "Anvil Jazz" and managed, somehow, to fit together a coherent rap that contained words like arsenic, nudity, jaguar, lust and so on. To finish though, another thrusting, throbbing blues, on alto this time.

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